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In this file photo, Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who switched his vote to yes on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 after casting a no vote on Monday on the first version of the bill, talks with a reporter after voting Friday, Oct. 3, 2008, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

For all of the talk about a split in the Republican Party, the math doesn't add up to anything other than Democratic control well into the future.

"Of course it does," Zach Wamp said Monday, "and I don't support [a split] because the truth is that's the only way the Democrats can consistently win."

Wamp should know. He served our area in Congress from 1995 to 2011. He won his last election with almost 70% of the vote.

Granted, that was a decade ago, but the landscape in those 10 years has changed mightily.

Last week, as Donald Trump's supporters in Congress voted Liz Cheney out of her leadership spot among the party's leaders, the splinters in the GOP left Democrats giddy and middle-of-the-party Republicans looking for a chair while waiting for the music to stop.

"If you look at it, the Democrats are almost as bad as we are because the woke left is pulling their center so far left it's out of bounds, too," Wamp said. "The two-party system has served us well for the first 80 of the last 100 years, but now raising money, holding power or gaining power are the goals, and our elected officials are not as interested in the long-term health of the country."

The times have changed, culture has changed and the players have changed.

"There was a time when public service in the history of our country was a noble calling, for people like Bill Brock. But now we have too many seeking attention more than seeking a solution," Wamp said.

Which leads us to the most celebrity politician — or should it be the most political celebrity — of all time, and how Donald Trump's lust for the limelight has consumed political conversation.

The flash fire that was last week — when there was talk of a GOP split after Cheney was replaced by a Trump loyalist, Elise Stefanik, who ironically is more liberal than Cheney — has lingered into debates of what the future holds and which figure or figures will decide what the future direction of the Republican Party will be.

"We need our Republican representatives to be leaders and not cheerleaders," Wamp said. "A lot of leaders have been intoxicated with power — a dangerous power — and with that you can lose your soul. I think we have lost our brand and have far too many following person over party."

Still, the former congressman thinks the emotions of the now that point toward the vocal pro-Trump crowd do not accurately show the real numbers across the entire GOP.

"I really believe the Trump faction is no longer the majority of the party and the Reagan/Cheney wing of the party has more public support than some people believe," he said.

Which leads Wamp and his hopeful party mates toward a belief that the party of Reagan will stay together, survive and even expand.

"We're wounded. And with our credibility and our brand in question, we need a reset for the good of the country," Wamp said. "But we don't need to leave the Republican Party; we need to fix the Republican Party."

And if Republicans can't or won't?

"Pragmatically, the Democrats will win," Wamp said. "Unfortunately, a lot."

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com.

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Jay Greeson
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